Archive ORX Session Previews 2017

Disruptive Docs Can Be Rehabilitated

Start by looking at your facility culture.

Kent Neff, MD, FAPA


OR Excellence

One of the challenges in trying to deal with disruptive physicians is that they often don't understand that they're disruptive, says psychiatrist Kent Neff, MD, FAPA, a noted lecturer and workshop leader, and an expert on managing disruptive behavior. "The most common scenario," he says, "is the doctor who says, I want the best care for my patients, and the only way I can get nurses to listen to me is to yell at them. They do it in the service of patient care, but it actually has the opposite effect. It hurts patient care." In Dr. Neff's presentation, "Giving Disruptive Docs a Second Chance," he'll explain how you can reach and rehabilitate physicians who knowingly or unknowingly make life tougher for everyone around them.

The culture issue. The culture in your facility is often at the root of some of these issues. If you have a tolerant attitude about bad behavior, it's more likely to occur. What we find over and over again is that these things have been going on forever. People start to say, that's how it is, and they make workarounds, so the behavior continues.

Not just yelling. Disruption can occur in many forms. Some doctors are nasty to nurses or can't seem to get along with their peers. Some may actually have physical encounters. Some refuse to follow instructions or safety procedures. Some repeatedly make errors, and no one can figure out why. And occasionally, you have a doctor who gets into a romantic relationship, or tries to, with one of the nurses — what I call the Bill O'Reilly Syndrome.

How it starts. In studies we've done of more than 300 disruptive doctors over a number of years, we found that about two-thirds came from a background of either emotional abuse or neglect. Also, about one-fourth had addiction issues — alcoholism, drug abuse or both.

Kent Neff, MD, FAPA

speaker profile
arrow Noted psychiatrist has worked with hospitals, health systems, professional associations and licensing boards regarding physician health and wellness for more than 30 years.
arrow Frequently conducts widely acclaimed seminars on influencing physician behavior, establishing respectful workplaces and managing change.
arrow Was director of the professional assessment program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
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